With the first week of December already under our belts, the rush is real to organise Christmas parties, presents and plans for the big day.

We’ve already curated guides for Christmas gifts that give back and luxurious gifts for your nearest and dearest. But if you’re strapped for time, not much of a baker and looking to gift your loved ones (or yourself) something sweet, here are our picks of this season’s best festive desserts from some of Melbourne’s top bakeries.

Pidapipo's panettone toast
Putting its own (creamy) riff on an Italian classic: Pidapipo Gelateria has released a limited-edition panettone toast this year. Its take on the festive, sweet bread sees layers of nutella and crema sandwiched between two slices of panettone. It’s then coated in a waffle cone crust, fried, and served with a dollop of fior di latte gelato. Available now, only at Pidapipo’s Fitzroy location.

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Tarts Anon's Christmas menu (from $14)
Tarts Anon has gone all out with its Christmas range this year. It’s whipping up a trifle tart with classic flavours of strawberry jam and vanilla custard; a candy cane tart with a double chocolate chip brownie centre; a spicy eggnog and fruit mince tart; and a cherry gingerbread tart. For a savoury option, there’s also a Christmas ham tart filled with ham and leek and topped with pork crumb. Pre-order online until 3pm on Christmas Eve.

Fossey's Distillery's gingerbread ($80) and Christmas pudding ($75) gins
Fossey’s Distillery is bringing back its Christmas pudding infused gin this year. Using its Original Gin as a base, Fossey’s family Christmas pudding is then distilled and infused into this seasonal drop. A gingerbread gin is also available this year – it’s a blend of refreshing ginger and Christmas spices. Available online or from Fossey’s Lygon Street venue.

Black Star Pastry's white strawberry watermelon cake ($80) and gingerbread chiffon cake ($70)
Black Star Pastry is putting a festive twist on their popular gluten-free Strawberry Watermelon Cake. For this version, rare white strawberries – which have a sweeter, less tangy flavour compared to red strawberries – and hand-carved snowflakes adorn layers of fresh watermelon, rose and strawberry cream and almond dacquoise. Also available is a gingerbread chiffon cake topped with a white chocolate and lemon drizzle and mini gingerbread men. Pre-orders close at midday on December 18 for pick-up on December 23 and 24. Order online.

Wild Life Bakery mince pies, $28 for six
This Brunswick bakery is best known for its house-made sourdough, pastries and vego toasties. After last year’s success, this Christmas it’s bringing back its traditional-style mince pies. The fruit mince is soaked in Solera Rye from local distiller the Gospel Whiskey, and encased in a sweet pastry made with a healthy amount of St David Dairy cultured butter. Make it a gift and order yours with limited-edition tea towels by Brunswick-based artist Beci Orpin. Pre-order online for pick-up in Brunswick or buy directly from the bakery.

Miss Trixie Drinks Tea Christmas pun cakes, from $90
Miss Trixie Drinks Tea is a one-woman operation by Alice Bennett, who gained popularity across Melbourne for her lockdown pun cakes. She’s now released three decadent buttermilk Christmas cakes, piped with festive messages such as “Berry Christmas” and “Claus for Celebration”. The flavour range includes Biscoff gingerbread, chocolate ripple and summer fruits – all iced and decorated with vibrant colours. Cakes are $100 for a seven-inch or $135 for a nine-inch, and can be ordered online.

Piccolina Christmas gelato pudding ($120) and 12 festive flavours
Piccolina is wildly popular, even among acclaimed chefs. And this year it’s putting a rocky road spin on traditional Christmas pudding made (mostly) of gelato – perfect for a hot Aussie Christmas Day. Cut into the dark-choc outer layer to find lashings of chocolate and salted caramel gelato, caramelised peanut and vanilla marshmallow, and raspberry mud cake. Plus, it’s gluten-free. They’ll also be doing twelve limited edition flavours for Christmas. Check into their instagram to see each week’s offerings. To kick off December, there’s dulce de leche gingerbread, eggnog and torrone (Italian nougat).

Lune festive December pastries, from $15.50
The world-renowned croissanterie is also known for being one of the first cruffin creators, and it’s serving a festive-inspired menu this December. You’ll find sweet pastries such as a twice-baked pavlova croissant filled with coconut frangipane and passionfruit, topped with meringue shards, whipped cream and summer fruits; a choc-peppermint pain au chocolat topped with crushed candy canes; and a Christmas pudding pastry filled with brandy caramel and brandy soaked fruit cake. Lune’s Fitzroy and Armadale locations will be offering all three pastries, but the CBD store will only stock the choc-peppermint pain au chocolat. Some of the pastries can be pre-ordered online, while others are only available in-store.

All Are Welcome panettone ($60) and mince pies ($30)
This top Melbourne bakery is whipping up Earl Grey mince pies and “supernatural” Milanese-style panettone (sans commercial yeast) for the festive season. The traditional sweet bread has been crafted by a number of bakers including Collingwood’s To Be Frank, resulting in a fluffy, fruity centrepiece that will definitely impress your Christmas guests. Pre-order now for pick-up from the Northcote, Thornbury or Ivanhoe stores between December 20 and 24. All Are Welcome is also offering a limited edition “choccattone” with ripples of milk chocolate and cacao praline, available in-store until sold out.

Bread Club galette des rois, $55
Galette des rois is a French delicacy, traditionally enjoyed post-Christmas. But this North Melbourne-born bakery is bringing the swirly pastry to you a little earlier this year. Expect a creamy almond filling between two layers of flaky puff pastry – with a special handmade surprise inside. There are also six-packs of traditional mince pies and gingerbread cookies on offer. Place your orders by December 22 to pick up from either Bread Club North Melbourne or Albert Park.

Mali Bakes’ matcha yule log ($70) and mince pie cookies ($40)
Layers of fluffy matcha chiffon envelop white chocolate and cherry cream in Mali Bakes’ Christmas twist on their crowd-favourite matcha roll. Also on offer are little mince pie cookies with a brandy glaze, perfect for dipping into a cup of tea; a chocolate variation of the yule log; and a Christmas tree cake with layers of olive oil ricotta cake, mango curd and yuzu buttercream that will make for a magnificent festive centrepiece. Order online before December 18 for pick-up from the Thornbury store or local delivery.

Zonzo’s panettone gin ($68)
This Yarra Valley winery and restaurant has distilled the flavours of the divisive Christmas bread into a small batch panettone gin. With flavours of vanilla, hazelnut, raisin and spice, it’s best enjoyed neat, over ice on a slow summer evening. Order online.

Penny for Pound's Christmas wreath ($80) and trifle ($120)
This Richmond bakery is best known for its viennoiserie, but its Christmas repertoire this year puts a summery twist on some festive favourites. There’s a tropical trifle with mango and passionfruit jelly, citrus sponge, passionfruit curd, and vanilla custard cream. Plus, a summer berry wreath filled with mascarpone mousse and berry compote, then topped with citrus shortbread and meringue kisses. Order online for pick-up until Christmas Eve.

This article was originally published on December 9, 2021. It was updated on December 6, 2023 to remove out-of-date details and add newly available items.